COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved the modifications for Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday night, Nov. 12, after the zoning proposal was tabled for 30 days.
Located off Highway 11, Mt. Pleasant, a planned development to build residential and commercial units, was approved in February 2007 by the BOC to be built adjacent to Georgia State University's Newton Campus. The original approved size of the property was 230.45 acres.
Property owner Hunter Fowler and Representative Randy Vinson requested to amend one of the previous conditions from the original planned development during the Oct. 1 board meeting:
- There will be no more than 267 total dwelling and accessory uses and structures, with a maximum density of 3.25 units to 4.85 units per acre
It was also requested to add the following three conditions to the planned development:
- Modify the boundary size from 230.45 acres to 55.06 acres
- Add a building type to the master plan called condo/apartments
- Add a building type to the master plan called Mt. Pleasant Rentals
The planned development will no longer extend to U.S. 278 but will be centered west of Highway 11, with ingress and egress off Highway 11 and Cedar Lane, according to the new proposed plan. The plan will also be linked to Georgia State University's Newton Campus via road and trails.
The planned development will now consist of estate lots, cottages, townhomes, student apartments, mid-rise condos, mixed use and nonresidential.
District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards said his constituents were concerned about the planned development, which is located in his district, during the meeting; therefore, the proposal was tabled for 30 days, with a 4-1 vote, so he could have time to speak with his constituents and answer the questions. He met with his constituents Oct. 21 at the Mansfield Community Center.
On Nov. 12, residents were still concerned about the planned development and voiced their concerns to the board.
Terrell Godfrey, who lives in the area, stated that he only voted for the original proposal in 2007 because he was promised apartments would not be built in the area.
"We had no indication that this issue was coming up again. I was involved very heavily in 2007, and, at that time, I'm tempted to say 99.9% of the residents out there were firmly against this project," he said. "We pay a lot of taxes, higher than a lot of areas in the county, in order to have a rural atmosphere. Many of us out there, like myself, built our own homes and designed our own homes. We wanted that atmosphere."
In response, Edwards corrected, "Apartments were approved for this property in 2007."
While the board could deny the proposal, Edwards believed the alternative scanerios were "highly undesirable" to the property owner.
"It's important that everyone understands if we were to deny this zoning amendment, then the owner is still okay with 320 multifamily homes," he said. "Denial of this zoing amendment will mean the owner pursues other options, which— in my opinion — are highly undesirable. I will not risk the alternative scenarios."
The board unanimously approved the planned development with conditions. District 5 Commissioner Ronnie Cowan was not present at the meeting.